When planning a trip to Hungary, many tourists immediately think of Budapest as the top destination. However, just a few hours away lies another gem that often gets overlooked – Debrecen. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning architecture, a visit to this city is a must for any traveler. Whether you have 48 hours or just a day to spare, here are the top 10 cool things to absolutely do in Debrecen.

1. Explore the Great Forest Park

Start your visit to Debrecen by wandering through the scenic Great Forest Park. This expansive green oasis offers a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Take a leisurely stroll along the tree-lined paths, rent a bike, or even enjoy a peaceful picnic. The park is also home to the impressive Nagyerdei Stadium, a must-visit for sports enthusiasts. With its peaceful atmosphere and diverse recreational activities, the Great Forest Park is the perfect way to kick off your adventures in Debrecen.

2. Visit the Déri Museum

If you’re a history and art lover, the Déri Museum is a must-visit. Housed within a stunning Neoclassical building, this museum boasts an extensive collection of artworks, archaeological artifacts, and historical exhibits. Marvel at the works of renowned Hungarian artists, explore ancient Egyptian artifacts, and learn about Debrecen’s fascinating past. The Déri Museum provides a comprehensive insight into the city’s heritage, making it a cultural hotspot that should not be missed.

3. Take a Tour of Debrecen University

Debrecen University, founded in 1538, is one of the oldest higher education institutions in Central Europe. Take a guided tour of this prestigious university to explore its magnificent architecture, historical buildings, and beautiful campuses. Aside from its academic importance, the university also offers stunning botanical gardens, a fascinating museum, and numerous libraries. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of this renowned institution and soak up the knowledge and history that the university has to offer.

4. Discover the Great Reformed Church

One of the most iconic landmarks in Debrecen is the Great Reformed Church. This magnificent Protestant church, constructed in the early 19th century, dominates the city skyline with its towering spire. Step inside to explore the grand interior adorned with exquisite stained glass windows and intricate woodwork. Climb to the top of the church for a breathtaking panoramic view of Debrecen. The Great Reformed Church is not only a religious site but also a symbol of the city’s rich history and architectural grandeur.

5. Shop at the Nagyerdő Market

To experience the local culture and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Debrecen, a visit to the Nagyerdő Market is a must. This bustling market offers an array of fresh produce, traditional Hungarian delicacies, and handmade crafts. Stroll through the lively stalls, sample the mouthwatering local cuisine, and pick up unique souvenirs to remember your visit by. The Nagyerdő Market showcases the heart and soul of Debrecen, providing visitors with an authentic taste of the city’s vibrant lifestyle and culinary delights.

6. Relax at the Aquaticum Mediterranean Waterpark

Escape the city heat and indulge in some relaxation at the Aquaticum Mediterranean Waterpark. This modern complex features a variety of pools, slides, and wellness areas, making it the perfect spot for some fun in the sun. Enjoy the adrenaline rush of the thrilling water slides, unwind in the relaxing hot tubs, or simply soak up the sun on the spacious sundecks. The Aquaticum Mediterranean Waterpark offers a refreshing experience that caters to both the adventure seekers and those looking for a tranquil retreat.

7. Marvel at the Big Forest Aquarium

Located within the Great Forest Park, the Big Forest Aquarium provides a unique opportunity to explore the world beneath the surface. Home to a diverse range of aquatic species from around the world, this aquarium offers a mesmerizing underwater experience. Marvel at the colorful coral reefs, watch the majestic sharks glide by, and learn about the intricate ecosystems that exist within our oceans. With its interactive exhibits, educational programs, and breathtaking displays, the Big Forest Aquarium is an enriching and awe-inspiring attraction for all ages.

8. Enjoy Outdoor Activities at Lake Bánk

For nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, a trip to Lake Bánk is a must during your 48 hours in Debrecen. Located just a short drive from the city, this picturesque lake offers a myriad of recreational activities. From swimming and fishing to pedal boating and hiking, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Surrounding the lake, you’ll find lush greenery, walking trails, and picnic areas, making it an ideal spot for a day of relaxation and outdoor fun.

9. Explore the Hortobágy National Park

Venture a bit further from Debrecen to discover the enchanting Hortobágy National Park. As Hungary’s largest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this expansive wilderness is truly a natural treasure. Embark on a guided tour to witness the breathtaking landscapes, spot unique wildlife such as herds of wild horses, and immerse yourself in the traditional Hungarian countryside. The Hortobágy National Park offers a serene escape from city life, providing a glimpse into Hungary’s rich natural heritage.

10. Indulge in Local Cuisine

No trip to Debrecen is complete without trying the mouthwatering local cuisine. From hearty stews and traditional goulash to delectable chimney cakes and sweet somlói galuska, the city offers a wide range of culinary delights. Head to one of the many cozy restaurants or local eateries to savor the authentic flavors of Hungary. Don’t forget to pair your meal with a glass of renowned Hungarian wine or a refreshing pálinka, a traditional fruit brandy. Exploring the gastronomic scene of Debrecen is a true treat for food enthusiasts, allowing you to indulge in the rich flavors and traditions of Hungarian cuisine.

In conclusion, Debrecen may be often overshadowed by its more famous neighbor, Budapest, but it offers a unique and enriching experience for travelers. From stunning architecture and cultural landmarks to natural wonders and delectable cuisine, Debrecen has something to offer for every type of explorer. So, if you find yourself in Hungary, be sure to include Debrecen in your itinerary and enjoy 48 hours filled with unforgettable memories.